We had the good fortune of connecting with Birdee and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Birdee, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks is what brought me from living according to how I thought I should be living, appealing to those around me and staying small, to discovering my true voice and living my dream as an artist and photographer in LA.

Growing up in Orlando, I did all the things I felt were the correct course to becoming an adult. I got a degree in Diagnostic medical Sonography and landed a great job as a high risk OB sonographer at a hospital when I was 20. I got married at 21, and bought my first house at 23. Life was going smoothly and all as planned, yet I was still not in touch with my inner desires and voice. About 6 years into my marriage we started to see some conflict and things started to become uncertain. Then, for the first time in my life, I took a risk doing something that was considered completely taboo by the community and friends I was a part of, taking artistic nude self portraits and sharing them on a private instagram I had made for myself, for my voice and freedom of my expression. I turned to self portraiture as a way to connect more with myself, artistically and emotionally. I was terrified, yet so liberated, and felt like I had somehow found a key that lit a creative fire within. I continued to search within, what am I feeling, what do I want to express, and how can I make an image to portray these feelings. The fire continued to grow, and the instagram community of followers and friends who I could connect with continued to grow as well. I felt not so alone with my feelings of depression, grief, broken heart, sensuality, hope, and liberation. Taking that risk was one of the best decisions I could have made, to put myself out there, something that was previously so out of character for me. I felt liberated and started to see the strength within me, to share my voice and vision. This was just the beginning of risk taking for me.

For the next several years I continued to explore self portraits, sharing and connecting through instagram all while still working full time as a sonographer. I soon started to have people reach out for me to take their photo. So I started taking small trips to meet people in person for shoots, collaborating, making art, sharing with each other about life, loss, bravery, and the beauty in it all. I started to feel a tug that this is something I’d like to be more than just a hobby. I started to have people share that the experience of having a shoot with me helped them feel beautiful and liberated. This is my dream, to help people see the beauty in themselves and to feel empowered, liberated, and to see themselves in a new perspective. How could I make this my full time gig?! I took the plunge and quit my full time job in the medical field to pursue my dream. I started offering these shoots as sessions, and haven’t looked back since.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My photography came in the form of self discovery through self portraiture, and therefore it’s so exciting to me to help others discover themselves in a new and empowered way through imagery. Not only that, but taking it underwater enters into a whole new dream world of weightless ethereal beauty. I believe every body is art and deserves to be celebrated. You don’t have to be a model to have an image that is fine art of yourself. I took my time building my portfolio, my skills, understanding the business side of things, and even becoming clear on my intention for my photography over the last 7 years. It wasn’t something that I was clear about from day one, but it has slowly grown and became what it is by taking baby steps and trusting my intuition. It wasn’t (and still isn’t!) always easy. I can get so impatient!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m still new to town, but if I were to host a friend here, we would probably head straight to Joshua tree for a day or two, eat at Natural sisters cafe for lunch and Crossroads for dinner. Back in the city we would have to make it down to the beach and touch the ocean, walk down Abbot Kinney Blv, get some food at Dune, and explore some of the incredible Museums and galleries around town.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Once I took the risk to step out, I’ve been supported the entire way by friends and family with love, advice, words of encouragement, and believing in me. I’m so grateful for every comment and word of encouragement that has helped me get to where I am today. A few photographers who wouldn’t let me give up early in my journey are Matt Fry, Ryan Muirhead, and Brad Earnske. My dear friend, and collaborator Stella De Mont who helped me truly see my worth and take my most recent leap to move to LA. My friend Eddie McGinty for nominating me for this article and helping me get plugged in in LA. My family for constantly cheering me on, my partner in life adventures and thinking outside the box, Henry, and my friend Annie for so fiercely believing in me.

Website: www.bird.ee

Instagram: @bird.ee

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